punch


I don’t have s strong past with Egg Nog. Growing up, I remember the premade stuff in a milk cartons showing up in our refrigerator around Christmas some years. In high school I had a part-time job cleaning a law firms’s office. I remember bourbon bottles and some of those egg nog cartons turning up every year for their office party. The idea of milk, liquor and eggs mixed together struck my adolescent mind as very unappealing.

 

In my current stage, it seems almost natural to have some around. It’s my kids – they like it. Maybe because it’s a change from milk, maybe it taste like melted ice cream. We’re on our third quart. They ask for it around the holidays. I guess that makes it a tradition, which is nice. You’ll find low fat, organic and lactose-free version out there when you shop. Getting to the grown up version is pretty easy with the cartons. Southern Comfort offered this recipe in one of their throw away drink guides from the 1960s:

 

New Orelans Egg Nog

  • 1 quart dairy egg nog
  • ½ pint Southern Comfort 

Pour chilled ingredients in a punch bowl. Beat mixture, dust with nutmeg. Serves 10.

 

This is a durable recipe – it is still offered on their website 40 years on from my source (new graphic). Deductive math yields: 4 oz egg nog to 1 oz liquor for an individual serving. Easy enough for when after the kids are in bed. Oh yeah, if you look carefully at the top picture, you’ll see Southern Comfort brand non-alcoholic egg nog.  I think the recipe is on that too. They must know their market which makes me think a lot of people are making “New Orleans Eggnog.”

 

The premade items are certainly convenient. You might be less than happy looking through the ingredient list though. They all include milk, sweetener and eggs. Sealtest adds several items to increase the density of their nog – whey powder, guar gum and carrageenan– plus a bit of artificial flavoring and color. Southern Comfort’s is similar. The sweetener for these is corn syrup. Lactaid keeps the base to natural products but includes a touch artificial flavoring. That’s become our house brand.

  

This blog goes heavily toward the traditional with the thinking that if something has been around a long time, it must be good. Do a little digging on egg nog and you’ll find that it’s been around for a long time. The best source I found on the history of the drink is here. (That site also includes a few recipes). Egg nog seems to have taken it’s present form in England in the early 1800s, evolving from early egg based drinks called Possets and Flips. It was made in large batches that always included spirits.

 

Charleston Receipts gives a pre-cursor recipe for Flip, offered here for the history buff:

  • 4 jiggers whiskey
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 quart rich milk
  • nutmeg to taste 

Beat yolks, sugar and seasoning together. Add milk and whiskey. Shake well with crushed ice, strain and serve in stemmed glasses with a dash of nutmeg on top.

 

We’re all about doing it ourselves here. My usual sources for recipes gave a tremendous number of them. Web searching brought up even more. The basic recipe includes milk, egg, sugar and spirit with some added spices. You could broadly divide recipes into those for large batches and those for single drinks. I’ll turn one more time to David Embury’s Fine Art of Mixing Drinks for help with breaking down the techniques for making the drink.

 

Basic techniques include:

  • Separating the eggs.
  • Mixing the yolks with sugar and spirit
  • Adding the dairy – milk, cream or both
  • Beating the whites separately, before folding into the base.

Variation comes in

  • the selection of spirts, whether that is one or several
  • the decision to add spirit or sugar first to the whipped yolks. Different textures are derived from each method
  • the amount of sugar used, generally 1 to 2 pounds per dozen eggs
  • the selection of dairy, generally 2 quarts (64 oz) per dozen egg.  More fat will increase the creamy texture
  • the decision to whip any cream that might be included
  • The decision to age the final mix or serve immediately.

There is a possibility of Salmonella contamination when using fresh eggs. Salmonella is killed by ethanol, but to play it safe, pasturizng the eggs before hand is worth considering. With a themometer handy, bring you eggs in a pot of water to 140-150 degrees and hold for 3 to 5 minutes.

 

Now, with all that background and a Lactaid Egg Nog spiked with homemade Spiced Rum in hand, we’ll dive into recipes on the next post.

 

Lazy Man’s Eggnog

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Punches are tough things to make – you need a lot of people together to justify making a batch.  I’ve been thinking about trying one. I was looking for some egg nog recipes in which I could use the spiced rum. That lead me to my copy of Charleston Receipts, a South Carolina classic. The book was put together by the Junior League of Charleston (SC) and published in 1950. It is a collection of family recipes. Conventional wisdom has it that these passed down recipes represent cooking (and drinking) from the 18th and 19th century.  This can lead to some culinart archaeology when you use the recipes. I proposed to my wife over an oyster pie described in this book. I also used a neat way to cook quails described on the book when the opportunity presented itself last year. Currently working on securing a possum to try out that signature dish.

The book starts with a section on drinks. Most are punches with proportions that would satisfy 100 or so people gathered for a major social event. One caught my eye because it included tea, a Charleston stand by.

Rum Punch

“This was the punch my father made for all the debutante parties of my generation.”

 

1 gallon brandy              2 quarts black tea

½ gallon heavy or           2 dozen lemons

light rum

1 pint peach brandy        Sugar to taste

5-6 quarts of carbonated water

 

Add carbonated water just before serving, more or less according to the strength puch to have. 1 pint curaco or maraschino as well as strawberries, cherries or a few slices of pineapple may be added.  130-140 servings Mrs Ralph Hanson (Eleanor Rutlidge)

You see what I have to work with. A little creative math made it manageable. When all the measures are converted to ounces, it becomes apparent that they divisible by 8. Doing that reduces it to 16 – 18 servings. Tiding up the recipe gave this:

Charleston Rum Punch (1/8 recipe)

16 oz   brandy                              8 oz black tea
8  oz    rum, light or dark             6 oz strained fresh lemon juice
2  oz    peach brandy                    5 oz 3:1 sugar syrup
[2 oz    curaco or maraschico]      20-24 oz  club soda

Notes: I used the peach liquor made a couple of months back for this component, although peach brandy is readily available in our ABC stores. The tea was brewed with loose leaf Earl Grey. Six ounces of lemon juice is what I got from squeezing three lemons. The sugar syrup amount comes from David Embury’s drink ratio of 8:2:1 – base liquor:modifying substance:sugar syrup. He makes a 3 parts sugar to 1 part water syrup. One cup of sugar dissolved in 1/3 cup water gives about 7 ounces, enough for this plus a little extra for the next night’s drinks.

The result was pretty good. Without the club soda, it tasted like an alcoholic iced tea. We packed up the punch base along with our newly designated portable punch bowl and headed to a get together with some friends. I added soda water and lemon slices just before serving. The water tamed the alcohol a bit and gave a nice spritz. The punch seemed to be well received. Two people in particular enjoyed it and their attention was much appreciated. – Cheers